The Virginia man who pleaded guilty in November to being part of an overseas bribery conspiracy that began in 1996 was sentenced today to 87 months in prison and fined $15,000. Prosecutors said it's the longest sentence ever in an FCPA-related case.
Charles Paul Edward Jumet, 53, had been charged in a two-count criminal information. In his guilty plea, he admitted conspiring with others to violate the FCPA by making corrupt payments to government officials in Panama and giving a false statement to the FBI about how he paid some of the bribe money.
Jumet, an American citizen, was an officer of Ports Engineering Consultants Corporation (PECC), an affiliate of Virginia Beach-based Overman Associates. In December 1997, the Panamanian government awarded PECC a no-bid, 20-year contract to maintain lighthouses and buoys along Panama’s waterway. In exchange, Jumet and others authorized corrupt payments to Panamanian officials.
By 2003, he and his co-conspirators had paid $212,400 to the former administrator and deputy administrator of Panama’s National Maritime Ports Authority and to a former, high-ranking elected official of Panama.
The FCPA conspiracy count carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the scheme. The false statement count carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Under the conspiracy law, 18 U.S.C. § 371, the statute of limitations can reach back to FCPA-related criminal behavior more than five years old if the conspiracy ended within the past five years.
A second man has also pleaded guilty in the case. John W. Warwick, 64, of Virginia Beach, Va., admitted in February to allegations in a one-count indictment charging him with conspiring to bribe Panamanian officials. He agreed to forfeit $331,000 that he made through the bribery. He's scheduled to be sentenced on May 14, 2010.
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, Jumet said at sentencing: "I am truly sorry for what I have done." He said he initially didn't know the deal involved anything illegal, but conceded he didn't withdraw once he did learn.
The DOJ's Lanny Breuer said, "Today’s sentence -- the longest ever imposed for violating the FCPA –- is an important milestone in our effort to deter foreign bribery. As this case confirms, foreign corruption carries with it very serious penalties, which can include substantial prison time for individuals who violate the law."
View the DOJ's April 19, 2010 release here.
Download the November 10, 2009 criminal information in U.S. v. Charles Paul Edward Jumet here.
Download the DOJ's statement of facts here.
Download Jumet's plea agreement here.
Download John W. Warwick's plea agreement here.